Waiting and the World Series

It’s been really fun watching the Chicago Cubs make it to the World Series. I can feel the excitement in the air! (Though last night’s game was a little disappointing.)

The Cubs franchise certainly knows a lot about hard work… and waiting. But while the roster has changed over the years, the discipline and desire have only grown stronger. It is thrilling to think that their ‘breakthrough’ could be at hand!


This week, I saw an interesting connection with my personal life. Lately, the Lord has me revisiting the waiting process too! It seems God is both challenging me and encouraging me, because I keep finding ‘well-timed’ books, articles, or podcasts about waiting on Him.

For example:

Wait and See by Wendy Pope

Waiting on God by Wayne Stiles

If God can help the Chicago Cubs make it to the World Series, I know sooner or later, MY breakthrough will come too, if I don’t give up!

I’ll admit though—it would be much ‘easier’ to just jump ahead in several areas of my life right now. Instead of toiling each day, why not just skip to the reward?

Because waiting serves a purpose.


(PC: Olivia Paul)

First, the outcome wouldn’t be as sweet if it was always so easy to obtain what we desire. On the plus side, most of us will never have to wait 108 years for a breakthrough! 😉

Second, waiting proves that the best things are worth the effort. Think of all the practice the Cubs have put in, both as a team and individually!

Third, waiting builds character so we can keep what we have worked for. We grow spiritual fruit, too. Negative attitudes, hidden motives, and bad habits are uncovered, which could otherwise hinder us from moving forward into what God has for us.

Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Waiting on God is not ‘doing nothing.’ It is taking active steps in the right direction, but pacing ourselves according to His timing.

Think of it as training camp!


But waiting itself can feel quite challenging, because we want to move on to bigger, better, and often, more exciting things. Maybe you are stuck in the outfield currently, but don’t overlook what God is doing—He is equipping you for greatness.

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (James 1:2-4, MSG).

In our fast-paced society, waiting longer than we think we should have to can feel unjust. Why me?! If we wait long enough, we tend to doubt ourselves and our abilities. But it’s not about us—or the outcome. In the end, what we learn about God and ourselves is most important.

When we are stretched to our limit, we find God’s grace and supply know no bounds. As we refocus on His ability to see us through, we remember Jesus’ faithfulness. His timing is perfect timing and His plans for us are good!

Waiting can leave us feeling weak and worn out. But in Jesus, we already have ultimate Victory. So, we can enjoy life while we rely on His everlasting strength!


Waiting can make us question the validity of our dreams—or even our calling. But, we can trust Jesus to develop us and lead us through each trial. He is trustworthy. And, we can leave the results to Him, because He is able to do abundantly more than all we ask or imagine (see Ephesians 3:20)!

I don’t know what you are struggling with today—or waiting for. Perhaps you need healing, provision, or a promotion. Jesus hears your prayers and cares about every little detail of your life. Ask Him to help you maximize your waiting period so you are fully prepared to step in to all He has planned for you!

It is coming!!


Heavenly Father, thanks for always working on my behalf. Thanks for all you teach me while I am waiting. Help me remember that Your plan for me is good—and the best things take time. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions:  Are you relying on God in your waiting period? What might you learn in the process?

Tasks: Write down all the benefits of waiting in your current phase of life. Review it when you are tempted to rush ahead of God’s timing!

A Birthday Bash Rehash!

This past weekend, Lydia and I flew to Illinois for my mom’s 60th birthday. My sister and I threw her a party, but since I live twelve hours away, planning was a team effort!

My mom worked over thirty years as a florist, arranging flowers for weddings, holidays, and funerals. She was always saddened by the fact people typically only send flowers after someone has died. So, Mom wanted this party to be a celebration of her life while she’s still here to enjoy it.

Why wait until someone dies to show your love?


It seemed fitting that people came to honor my mom this weekend! She loves to encourage others, and gives accordingly. Many people have benefited from Mom’s kindness and generosity over the years. Indeed, she inspires me to use my own gifts to serve others!

The party was an open house, and Mom requested no gifts. Instead, she asked for donations of canned items to the local food bank. (See the last picture below!)

Even on her birthday, my mom was thinking of others!


I knew we would have a good time, because my family knows how to have fun! But, the party was even better than I could have expected. Everything turned out perfectly.

It was a good reminder for me to just let God take care of our ‘plans.’ He always does an excellent job of providing just what we need!

As I looked around the party room, I could see evidence of God’s grace. The food was plentiful and delicious. But really, the atmosphere was key. The mood was warm and welcoming, inviting everyone to sit and stay awhile.

The relationships were what made the party special!


In our small farming community, we knew some people wouldn’t make it because of the Harvest. Even so, we were so glad a few farmers left their fields early to come to the party. (That rarely happens because time is so precious!)

It’s a busy time of year, and some people couldn’t make it due to previously scheduled trips or other events. That’s understandable! Still, we still had a steady stream of people throughout the night. In fact, one couple postponed their special anniversary trip because they “wouldn’t miss it for anything.” 😀

I enjoyed seeing people at the party that I haven’t seen in quite awhile. It was exciting to catch up with dear family and friends. (Since I moved away six years ago, I don’t always stay in the loop.) I also loved meeting newer friends and introducing them to Lydia!


On Saturday night, we had a wide variety of backgrounds present. It was another instance of God’s grace bringing so many people together for a common purpose. Praise God!

I even saw people sitting together that never would have done so previously. People were laughing to the point of tears, overflowing with gratitude. Only God could have restored those relationships—and what an awesome job He has done!

Throughout the evening, I heard comments, such as, “We haven’t been to a party in forever!” or “What a great reason to get together and celebrate!” Sometimes, we can focus on surviving the daily grind or acquiring more stuff, instead of what’s really important.


It’s also tempting to focus on what is ‘wrong’ in our lives…what is not going well, who slighted us, or how we will make ends meet. But none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

My mom’s birthday party was so much fun! She has spent years encouraging others, and so many people showed up in her honor. It was amazing to see!

As the evening came to a close, my very wise mother said, “People are our treasures—the only gifts that will last. We can always get more stuff, but people cannot be replaced.”

Let’s remember to celebrate one another more often!


God, thanks for the relationships You have given us. Please help us to be an encouragement to others and use our gifts as a blessing to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: How can you use your gifts and talents to be an encourager?

Task: Write a thank you note to someoneor call them just to catch up!


Gardens: Growing in Grace

Do you have a garden? I was considering the pros and cons of a garden this year. Though, after buying trees last week, routine car maintenance, and a few other expenses coming up, I decided to re-evaluate next spring. I could probably still do a small container garden, but the planting season is nearly over now.

But if I had a garden, I would plant leafy greens (such as kale, spinach, or lettuce), peppers, onions, and green beans, for sure! I could also grow zucchini and use it in my spiralizer. I love fresh garden tomatoes, but I haven’t had the best of luck in recent years!


There are many different kinds of gardens (vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers). Besides several flower gardens, my parents re-purposed some old tractor tires to make a raised garden for tomatoes. They also have large pots of basil, rosemary, and oregano. Like a colorful oasis, it always feels like a retreat to go back and visit!

Perhaps it’s good for me to wait a year and see what size garden is practical to maintain! In the past, I had a CSA membership… and I always enjoy visiting our local farmers’ markets. Last year, the grass in my yard needed help. This year, I’ll focus on my new trees. Maybe I just enjoy playing in the dirt, but I love how gardening connects us back to the earth!


From Eden to Gethsemane, it seems God has a special way with gardens.

He plants us in just the right “soil” environment so that we can grow. For each of us, those circumstances are different. You may be going through an exciting time of growth, or a personal trial to refine you. Whether in a lush garden or a desolate desert, stay rooted in the Lord. Don’t give up hope! Drink in the water of His Word. He is faithful.

Jesus promises if we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit. Having fruitful lives is inevitable—if we remain close to Jesus (see John 15:1-17). We cannot bear fruit on our own.

Pruning isn’t fun, but take heart. It’s a good indicator that God is indeed working! In the process, the dead is removed and new life begins. Let Him do the work He needs to do in your life. He is the Master Gardener.

Galatians 5_22-23 with peaches

As evident in the verses above, the Holy Spirit plants seeds in our lives. Though if you look again, GRACE is not listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Why is that?

Could it be grace is like His warm sunshine? Like sunshine, His grace is always present. Even when we cannot see it or understand it. Spiritual fruit grows in the midst of God’s grace. Growth is not easy, but is always for our good. So, rest in Him with quiet trust.

By yielding to the Holy Spirit’s process and receiving God’s grace, we are changed from the inside out!


If you think about it, we also plant seeds in the lives of those around us. As we work together, we help each other grow and cultivate good fruit. What a blessing!

 If we are growing in grace, people around us should notice. “I can see the joy on your face!” or “I appreciated your patience with me.” or “That was so kind of you to help me.”

Life is difficult at times—but God’s grace empowers us to live victoriously. Let’s offer His support to one another. And, hold on tight for some “miracle growth!”


Father God, thanks for Your grace that brings growth in our lives. Holy Spirit, work in us with Your power that we may bear fruit. Help us when the growth process is challenging. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: What are your favorite items to plant? Do you see increasing amounts of spiritual fruit in your life (Galatians 5:22-23)?

Let me know in the comments below!

Peaches, Sno-Cones, and Unexpected Grace

Peaches are loaded with nutrients, like potassium, and Vitamins A and C. They are also a good source of fiber. And sno-cones? Ummm…Not so much! They are comprised of sugary syrup, and other not-so-great ingredients…

Now, I am not going to bash sno-cones, but as a dietitian I certainly don’t promote or recommend them. In fact, no real nutritional comparison can be made! So, why link them together with peaches? Because of grace.

 Peaches in a Basket

Peaches remind me of the grace that comes with hospitality. My neighbor, Melissa, lives across the street. She recently brought us some amazing, “juice-dripping-down-your-face” fresh peaches. Melissa had some extras, and didn’t want to waste them. So, she graciously shared them with us. It was totally unexpected, but so appreciated!

I could have made something out of the peaches, though we ended up eating them in all their fuzzy glory. They didn’t last long enough! Yum!

We’ve had great “neighbor-friends” over the years. To start, we’ve shared meals and good stories. Neighbors have helped with yard work and snow removal from time to time. Some have hung pictures or changed light bulbs around the house. They’ve watered my plants; checked the front door for packages; and kept an eye on the house when we travel. A few have even watched Lydia for me in a pinch.

I am so thankful for the help!


A few days after the peaches, Lydia and I came across a local park event. It was an outdoor craft fair with many family-friendly events. We enjoyed a horse and carriage ride, music in the park, and perusing the booths. And yes, Lydia had her first sno-cone.

Lydia was excited to be at the park, as it was a last minute decision after our original plans fell through. It was an impromptu event for us, but I realized something. Many of the best times we have are the unplanned, in-the-moment ones.

Part of the definition of grace is that it is undeserved. There is an element of surprise as well—like an unexpected bonus that yields something good that would have otherwise been missed. Grace is in the simple things we so often overlook.

Back to the sno-cone. Lydia didn’t do anything special to deserve it. I was savoring God’s goodness, and enjoying the unexpectedly beautiful and unhurried day. Buying the sno-cone was merely an extension of that.

(For the record, Lydia really wanted to slurp up the leftover liquid (not juice!) at the bottom of the sno-cone cup. But, I declined since she was wearing a white shirt, and I knew would make a mess… And of course, she didn’t need it anyway!) 🙂

Thank You, God, for unexpected grace. Thanks for wonderful neighbors and friends, delicious peaches, and even sno-cones to remind me of the beauty and joy You provide. Help me slow down and notice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Tomatoes and Better Days Ahead

I love fresh tomatoes—they are one of my favorite foods of summer. My dad and I are the only ones in our family who will eat them. So, my mom always grows them just for us. There is nothing better than vine-ripened tomatoes in the heat of an Illinois summer. Delicious! I pluck them right off the vine, and into my mouth they go. There is little chance that they’ll even make it inside. Sorry, Dad!

Here in North Dakota, I cannot seem to grow tomatoes successfully! It could be due to the shorter growing season or having less humidity… I might get a few tomatoes, but not nearly enough for my tastes.

Check out my poor tomato plant (pictured below). Knowing I enjoy tomatoes, my mom planted it for me the summer that Dave died (2013). As you can see it didn’t fare well!

I could have forgotten to water it in my grief…or maybe it was the mighty wind that knocked it over half a dozen times.

2013 Tomato Plant

I don’t know what is worse—its pathetic, withered look or the need to prop it up against my deck railing! Day after day, I would walk by it in a daze. I often failed to water it.

In some ways, it represented my life quite well at the time. Towards the end of summer, I took a picture of it, as a marker. Dismally, I thought, “I must look like this plant, down and out, a little worse for the wear.” I had no clear plan at the time. (Grief is like that.)

Soon, I noticed there was still fruit. Despite appearances, my poor tomatoes were still hanging on! As I waited on the Lord to renew my vision…even in my grief…I knew He would make something good (Jeremiah 29:11). In a sense this tomato plant brought me tremendous hope during those dark days.

Have you ever felt Life looked a little bleak? Has your hope withered as Life pressed in?

I’m so sorry. Like this tomato plant, we all experience rough times. Circumstances can change in an instant. I know. We get knocked down for many reasons. Whatever your loss or pain, will you let God handle it? He will make a glorious masterpiece, if you will let Him.

Lamentations 3:24 says, “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” If you feel like a beaten up, wind-tossed tomato plant, there is hope!

Have confidence in God’s timing and goodness (see Psalm 27:13).

He loves you very much.

Father God, thank You for bringing me through, and giving me new direction. Your wonderful plan includes hope for today and a great future. The best is yet to come! Thank You for sustaining us with Your grace and power.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.